China’s Menacing Sandcastles in the South China Sea

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China didn’t open “Pandora’s Sandbox.” It isn’t the first claimant to transform reefs by padding them with sand. But China’s superior economic and military capacity enables it to outpace other claimants. It is rapidly building the greatest “sandcastles,” which support multiple military and paramilitary functions.

Beijing views Spratly and Paracel Islands augmentation as justified in “Chinese blue territory.” “China is entitled to these rights by law,” Defense Ministry Spokesman Yang Yujun declared on 29 January, “other nations have no right to gossip about them.” International concerns include: 1) China’s dredging sand and building conspicuously atop it; 2) its strategic opacity about building plans; 3) infrastructure’s potential to change the operational balance of power and Beijing’s claims; and 4) Beijing’s concurrent regional coercion, including deployment of an oil rig in Vietnam’s claimed Exclusive Economic Zone.

 

Read more: http://warontherocks.com/2015/03/chinas-menacing-sandcastles-in-the-south-china-sea/2/

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